I warn you – if you are not of the disposition that finds lewd British sexual innuendo amusing. You should go and find your match report elsewhere, because tonight, Patsy was in town.
In the News: Real Pulis is complaining that Sanchez is a cheater as if he is the only person in the world that didn’t know this before Monday night. PSG have offered Cavani £1m to hand over penalty duties. I do wonder if anyone that runs that bonkers club has ever watched a game of football. FIFA will now let us wear poppies. As if we didn’t just ignore them and wear them before. Dicks. Bryan Robson says Klopp and Conte are allowed to act like lunatics but that Chequebook Pulis gets punished for it. I don’t pay enough attention to Kilppity Klopp to care, but certainly in Antonio’s case he’s only a threat to himself. He actually shredded both his groin and the crotch of his trousers at once last season on the touchline. Nothing that our boss does involves harassing and verbally abusing every official/member of the opposition in sight.
Motherwell have a “legend” called Steven Craigan. No, I had never heard of him either until he brutally tackled Chris Sutton when he was wittering away on air at Fir Park, which I am reliably informed is in Scotland. Try and catch it on YouTube. I’ve watched him hit the deck about thirty times and it hasn’t got old yet. The Red Spawn have now done an article on players’ FIFA speed ratings and who would win a theoretical foot race. Do the Daily Fail just have a FIFA 2018 correspondent? If so this is potentially the most stupid job ever, and that comes after I learned at Windsor this week that Queen Victoria appointed an “animal painter to the Queen.” I was devastated to learn that this was not as much fun as it sounded and that he painted pictures of the animals, and did not tart up cows in psychedelic colours for Her Majesty’s amusement.
The Others: The Scouse failed. Chuckles Karius was sh*t (after telling everyone that he wants to be picked ahead of Krusty Mignolet) and everyone seems to be preoccupied with the fact that Klippity started Coutinho, Mane, Firmino and Salah together. Yes, but they still didn’t win. Do pundits and press plebs learn nothing? Why is no one bothered about the fact that the reason they didn’t win was because they can’t stop conceding at the other end? Allegedly, Conte contributed in some tiny way to that results with some tips for the opposition manager. That makes me happy. Unlike the fact that Sp*rs won and I am subjected to nonsense about Harry F*cking Kane because he scored some more goals against minnows. Someone should flag with a member of the medical professional just how quickly boxing appears to be obliterating the capacity of the few brain cells Rio Ferdinand had in the first place, because he says that he is as good as Ronaldo and Messi. Also, Pochettino says his love for HFK has made his wife jealous. Make of that what you will. United have swatted aside their Russian opposition, while City made quite a big deal out of their game but won in the end.
Them: Familiar faces tonight, but Torres started on the bench and Costa looked marginally more awake in the stands. Six months ago Greizmann was looking spiffy enough to be invited to make a shampoo advert. Now he looks like a sad homage to Patrick Swayze in Point Break. Wearing a headband.
Us: This was undoubtedly a chance to show that we belong at Europe’s top table. Luiz came into the starting lineup, with Cahill to his left and Dave to his right. Moses and George Michael on the wings, Kante and Bakayoko sat in front and Fabregas was pushed up to join Hazard and Morata.
Standard practice for European aways which we are too poor/lazy to attend is for Uncle Albert/Royus, Denzil (Only Fools and Horses) and Patsy to meet at our local to watch the game. Even before kick off Patsy had blown Uncle Albert’s mind with talk of E Cups and possible uses for a cucumber, he was praying for the game to start just so he’d have somewhere else to look. Roll on kick-off, pitting football’s most successful hair transplant against football’s most drastic combover.
First thoughts: Atletico have started quickly and: Robbie Savage is commentating. Joy.
I was expecting no possession, and that’s what we achieved in the opening minutes, as the home side pinged the ball around easily. But the first thing that looked remotely like a chance fell to us on four minutes, Hazard shanking it wide. A minute later he hit the side netting. We weathered the early pressure and settled into the game, and actually we were having the better opportunities. On 12 minutes Hazard, my man of the match tonight, cut across the box and put a shot in. The keeper was beaten but the ball took a deflection, and however that altered the flight of the ball (too much cheap gin, couldn’t’ figure it out) it ended up cracking the post. Patsy had gone into a diatribe about Eden and his backside, until I told her that when I met him it depressed me that he was thinner than me, so she was half watching the game and half devising a scheme to lock him in her loft and fatten him up. Meanwhile on the pitch it was an open game, but the Atletico play-acting was already p*ssing me off, as well as the referees inability to recognise that you needn’t go down clutching your face if nobody has actually touched you. On 20 minutes Luis was rolling on the floor like Kante had tried to kill him, making card gestures. I knew there was a reason beyond his sh*t hair that I didn’t care that much when we sold him.
Despite being about half an hour from Stamford Bridge, on a bad day, the foolish landlady had decided to split the screens between us and United. 95% of the pub was of the blue persuasion, but of course I ended up next to three tedious Middle Class Southern Plastic Mancs (MCSPMs) drinking Speckled Hen and talking absolute b*llocks. We came close again on 23 minutes when Morata could have scored another with his head. A sublime ball in, but it didn’t quite come off. Patsy didn’t mind on account of the close ups of Alvaro, who is her new obsession. She has surmised that “it’s so nice to be able to follow up every game with a w*nk even if we lose.” Hold tight, I told Uncle Albert. She’s only two gins in, she’ll get worse yet.
Hazard was having an outstanding first half, partly because he was being really quite selfish, which I don’t object to in the slightest when he is on this form. Bitterly, the MCSPMs were loudly pontificating about how “easy” our group is, in case you needed any more clarification that the were tossers. Just after half an hour we had had 53% possession, conceded nothing and Atletico had not even had a shot on target. You could argue with confidence that we deserved to be ahead. It was a very disciplined, very sensible performance and I was that ecstatic that I went and bought more cheap gin.
Then along came David Luiz. I agree that I saw thirty similar shirt pulls at Stoke on Saturday and that none of them were penalised. But this is Europe. The fact that Luiz barely argued the point himself says it all. Silly, silly boy. I was hoping that Greizmann wouldn’t be able to see through the Wurzel Gummidge wig stuck to his head, but his penalty was pretty emphatic. The MCSPMs jeered in our faces. I wont lie. I contemplated hitting them with a tonic bottle. We had a couple of half chances before the break, both long range, from Cahill and George Michael, but we went in to half time behind, and actually we were lucky that it was only a single goal deficit thanks to an Atletico attempt right before the whistle.
I spent half time torturing a plastic London Scouser. He swaggered past us and mentioned that they had had 169 shots in the last half an hour of football, or whatever, and therefore were better than us. By the time I finished with my Klippity transfer window mockery and ripping their defence to shreds he’d run away to hide in the toilets. Meanwhile the bartender, when Patsy asked for a large one said: “would you like a gin with that” Guffaw, guffaw. Bless him he thought he was being very risqué. I refer your back to Patsy’s previous first half comments which make him look like a smut peasant.
Atletico are consistently strong in the Champions League for a reason. “Masters of the Dark Arts” says Albert, in reference to the conning of free kicks out of the referee, and in a rare lucid moment Patsy articulated another interesting interpretation; that Spanish football can be largely about who is the better side at fouling the opposition and getting away with it. It’s the officials who need to be strong and adept at clarifying what is nonsense play-acting and what is actually an infringement of this rules. This referee tonight largely failed at this. We were debating whether he was a gooch (I’ll leave you to google that one) or a chode, which according to Patsy is a man part that is unfortunately as wide as it is long. As this debate ensued, Juanfran was rolling about on the floor holding his face having not been touched. Presumably he fell over his own massively receding hair line. When players do this this blatantly in Spain it sickens me. They deserve to be kicked in the crotch by someone wearing steel toecaps. Multiple times.
As the clock was about to tick onto the hour we finally had something to show for all of our hard work when Luiz redeemed himself by playing a great ball out to Hazard who crossed it perfectly into the box. Who else but Morata would be there to nod it in and set Conte off going batsh*t crazy on the touchline. The plastic Scouser was by now fighty and drunk and saying that Morata is shIt because all he’s got is his head. I responded by licking his face. Agonisingly, we could have actually gone ahead minutes later but for a terrible miss by Fabregas. At the risk of sounding like whiny Scouser man, at this point we had had 18 attempts on goal to Atletico’s seven, surely we could aim for the win? It was a thoroughly entertaining game, end to end, feisty, and the referee’s ineptitude at deciding what was a foul and what was not was at least beginning to pay dividends for us too. They had forays forward, but we came closer to scoring, Moses pulling a shot wide and Morata making a fierce run forward only to send his shot wide too on 73 minutes. We had spent much of the time fending off sniping from plastic Scouser man. Patsy put him in his place and declared herself a “Bantersaurus Rex.” What does that make him? I asked? “A chode,” she replied.
Conte’s substitutions began with taking off Morata and Hazard. They had both had the sh*t kicked out of them. With City on Saturday, and with Pep’s brats getting an extra day to recover from European action this was sound. Michy and Willian were the fresh pairs of legs introduced. Patsy was devastated, and resorted to scouting along the bar for something else to perv at. Antonio’s last change turned out to be inspired. Fabregas came off for Christensen. Uncle Albert was doing his tactical nut trying to figure out what was about to happen. The answer? Andreas slipped into the middle of the back three and Luiz went up into midfield. Suddenly we looked strong again as the final whistle approached. By this point the game was frantic. Atletico were trying to win, I think we would have been happy with a point. Cahill saved the day on 89 minutes with some calm play, but we had dropped very deep. With just the last of injury time to play, Luiz did a Juanfran and picked up a free kick. Into the box the ball went, and with seconds left Bakayoko played a neat flick out to George Michael, who put a cross in with his right, yes right foot. Who was on the end of it? Who else. Michy. Cue meltdown in the pub. Even the PMCSMs high-fived us. Plastic Scouser pouted in the corner. The biggest cheer of the night though? Seconds later when the whistle went and the camera zoomed in on Diego Costa. Bless him.
So: Though he basically redeemed himself, this penalty tonight and the red against Arsenal, it’s Retro Luiz. Someone shake him by the hair and make it stop. We saw Morata and Hazard start together for the first time. And wow. Conte beat Simeone tonight with his changes. Inspired. We weren’t even in this competition last year – our boys were putting in London night-time training sessions on European nights, presumably to keep some kind of rhythm with the schedule. Conte pulled off a miracle in his first season, when actually what was required of him was to bail out a sinking ship. So this, for me, is year one. We had a relaxed start to life back in Europe’s premier competition and tonight was the first real measure of where we are following a spell of exile. This, for me, was an outstanding away performance and makes me a whole lot more confident about our chances further into the competition if we can keep it up.
Patsy has had to go home after half a bottle of sh*t gin to ice a marble cake for the Macmillan Coffee morning. This is why you just suck up the financial hit and buy a big box of cupcakes from M&S. Same starting line up on Saturday would do me. I think it’s a battle of the defences, and I fancy our chances.
Any and all donations for our Blue Trekker walk across the desert in aid of wounded veterans still mutely appreciated – please follow this link if you can spare anything!